As published at Stream.org December 10, 2016.
Just as the newly-elected Trump administration is preparing to take office, America gets a surprise reveal from The Washington Post that President Obama’s Pentagon deliberately suppressed a 2015 report revealing $125 billion in wasteful spending could be saved over five years. Secretary of Defense (not for long, thank God!) Ashton Carter, his deputy Robert Work and other underlings squashed the report and its findings, placing secrecy restrictions on it and removing it from public view. They were busy with more important things like getting women into combat units and people with gender identity confusion to serve openly. Exposed just three days after the $619 billion National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 was passed, it reeks of a cover-up.
The Post reports:
Pentagon officials knew their back-office bureaucracy was overstaffed and overfunded. But nobody had ever gathered and analyzed such a comprehensive set of data before…Based on reams of personnel and cost data, their report revealed for the first time that the Pentagon was spending almost a quarter of its $580 billion budget on overhead and core business operations such as accounting, human resources, logistics and property management. The data showed that the Defense Department was paying a staggering number of people — 1,014,000 contractors, civilians and uniformed personnel — to fill back-office jobs far from the front lines.
Despite the recommendations to address the waste, namely through attrition and redirection of the funds to weapons repair and development and the troops themselves, officials used the scare tactic that revealing it would result in budget cuts. They used this excuse to hide it.
As I’ve previously reported, our military aircraft are at a mere 30 percent readiness, with the Marines even cannibalizing museum pieces to get some aircraft working. Our carrier fleet is in a similar state of disrepair and decline. The Heritage Foundation’s 2016 Index of U. S. Military Strength notes, with emphasis added:
Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), testified in his March 2015 posture statement, the Navy was “compelled to further reduce the capacity of weapons and aircraft, slow modernization, and delay upgrades to all but the most critical shore infrastructure” due to continued budget shortfalls of $11 billion.
The Obama administration has slashed military personnel — 20,000 Marines in 2012, 20,000 from the Army in 2015 and another 30,000 this year — as well as military pay and pensions. While drawing down, however, they’ve prioritized spending for more recruiters to go after women for combat jobs because they want to see an increase in female representation in the ranks. Also on their priority list are mobile “unconscious bias” training units to disabuse grunts of believing in the physiological differences between men and women that are reconfirmed every time they test against men’s standards. And then there’s the “Transgender 101” training, sex change operations and safe spaces now being provided at taxpayer expense.
Reduced flight training due to budget cuts imposed on the services has resulted in several fatal crashes, including one last January that killed 12 Marines. The waste revelation is more than just a disgrace. Marines have died directly due to a lack of funding for the training they need, but Obama’s Pentagon wouldn’t deign to divulge the waste, let alone slash office jobs held by civil servants. The stink of Washington elitism is repugnant. Far from the fray, detached from the consequences of their actions, they’re willing to put men and women in harm’s way without the things they need to succeed and to survive.
The government’s first and most basic responsibility is to protect citizens against enemies foreign and domestic. Yet the hard-earned dollars of those same citizens are being squandered in the worst way. More importantly, the lives of those actually defending the country are not only being put in greater peril but are being squandered just to fund more overpriced contractors and civilian desk jockies. Ashton Carter couldn’t care less.
Luckily for us, far better leadership is soon to take over in the form of retired Marine General James Mattis, a man who cares deeply for America’s defenders. His oversight of the Pentagon can’t come soon enough.